This book was almost *too* stimulating, too gloriously gratifying, when first I read it at a tender age: it's repulsively trite of me to say this, butThis book was almost *too* stimulating, too gloriously gratifying, when first I read it at a tender age: it's repulsively trite of me to say this, but I felt that it had been written expressly for me.
Just a few of its attractions: - a fiendishly, freakishly precocious protagonist, whose precocity is depicted as a source of both value and supernatural powers. We're supposed to love Matilda *because* she's smart (a welcome relief from the nerd-bashing and suffocating averageness of other kids'-lit heroes, in those bad old pre-Potter Dark Ages);
- Matilda's triumphant emancipation from and victory over her hateful, Philistine, raping-and-pillaging parents, followed by the most agonizingly exciting development of all, to wit:
- the fact that Matilda gets to rescue a preternaturally alluring damsel in distress -- her teacher, the hauntingly named Miss Olivia Honey. Miss Honey is, quite simply, a high femme goddess for the juice-box set, and she featured prominently in my sexual fantasies until at least the age of seventeen;
- Matilda gets the girl at the end -- the last page of the book shows the two embracing, anticipatory to moving into Miss Honey's ancestral mansion, where presumably they will delight in the massive library, the tasteful appointments, and each other.
When Matilda reaches her majority, of course.
God I love this book. The pleasures of identification and wish fulfillment are quite heady indeed.